Boxmoor Cricket Club - 2020 Reports

Chairman – Matt Larkins

2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, with everything that has happened all around us cricket in general and Boxmoor cricket club has understandably taken a different role for many of us as our priorities continue to be with family, friends and lessening the impact of the pandemic on our lives. Hopefully the club has been able to play a role in providing some small relief for everyone that has been able to participate in cricket whether that be by training, playing or helping to run the club.


The immediate concern of the committee and myself once it became obvious that the season was going to be impacted was to ensure the club remained financially viable and that we were able to put ourselves in a position that allowed us to both operate within any restrictions that were brought about by the pandemic but also that continued to allow us to plan for the future of the club by continuing improve the facilities and infrastructure of the club. I am happy to say that with considerable planning and review of club expenditure along with the support of our membership and receipt of a Dacorum Borough council grant we have put ourselves in a position that the club could survive for 2 seasons if no further income was received. This will allow us to continue to plan for the long term future without having to worry about the financial position in the short term.


I would like to take this moment to now share my thanks for everyone that has played a part in ensuring the 2020 season was able to take place albeit in its shortened from, everyone from the groundsmen to the grass cutting team ensuring the pitch and the outfield were maintained to the high standards we have come to expect, the junior coaching team for their time and hard work making sure that our juniors had the opportunity to play some cricket whilst making sure that the club and individuals follow the guidelines put in place. It goes without saying that without the support of the committee and the many volunteers at the club there wouldn’t be a cricket club at Boxmoor, something that we should all remember and never take for granted.


It’s too early to say with any certainty what the 2021 season will look like but whatever the future holds for Boxmoor we will be as prepared as we possibly can. I view 2021 as an opportunity to carry on with the significant progress we have made both on and off the field over the last few years, our Saturday league teams have made steady progression and our 1st XI will be the youngest in my time at the club with many of the squad having progressed through the junior set up. Off the pitch we will continue to upgrade our facilities with some significant plans in progress for both the pavilion and also the grounds equipment. There will be changes to both the executive and cricket committee with a number of the current role holders stepping down which may lead to some challenges filling some positions however this also provides an opportunity for other club members to play an active role at the club.


Every cricket club has its “Legends” and Boxmoor is no exception, if you speak to anyone at the club and ask them to name two then I’d be pretty confident that the two names you would hear would be Peter Lockley and John Scott both have been members at the club for more years than they can probably remember and have held many various positions at the club and they have played a huge part in getting the club to where it is right now. Both Peter and John are stepping down from their current respective roles as Fixture Secretary and Club President and I would like to thank them for the support they have given me throughout my time at the club and also on behalf of the membership for everything they have done over the years both on and off the field.


Head of Cricket - Keith McKay

Normal preparations for the season were impossible due to the first period of lockdown and it did seem very likely that cricket would not be played in 2020, especially following the Prime Minister's comments that the cricket ball was a "natural vector of disease". However, following a very typical Government u-turn, recreational cricket did get a short notice green light to resume in mid-July. What this meant was that the usual run-in of indoor nets was not completed, pre-season friendlies were not played, early cricket committee meetings to discuss and agree our approach to the season were lost, and opportunities to recruit new players curtailed. However, despite these shortcomings we were able to fulfil the vast majority of our remaining fixtures in a safe way and competitive way. Special thanks are due to the Captains for overseeing the on-day COVID arrangements, to Chairman Matt for his work in making the clubhouse COVID safe, to the Copes in continuing to prepare the wickets at the Moor, and to the Selection Committee for continuing to meet to pick XIs. I am also grateful to the players for abiding by the COVID rules, for their continued support of cricket at Boxmoor, and for the cheerful way that they adapted to the new safety arrangements. I would also like to thank Sam Pimm for stepping into the Saturday first XI Captain role at very short notice.


On the pitch results varied across all the XIs which reflects that some of last season's regular players were not available for a variety of reasons and this impacted on both continuity of selection and our strength in depth. However, the Saturday second XI showed that promotion in 2021 is a realistic and achievable aim, and the Saturday first XI shows signs of developing into a dynamic and athletic side based around a nucleus of young players. In addition, several new playing members joined during 2020 and successfully slotted into the club; in my opinion, this shows that potential new members do exist and can be recruited, demonstrates the friendly ethos that we have at the club, and also shows that Boxmoor has a unique "offer" in the Hemel area that the two bigger clubs in the town cannot meet. Sunday availability was good this year but mainly because we had more players than usual willing to do the Saturday/Sunday "double". We cannot count on that continuing in future years and we need a dedicated Sunday captain to step forward to inject leadership and energy into this important part of the club.


Head of Junior Cricket – Nick Harper

Junior winter practice at Longdean ended abruptly four weeks earlier than expected as the COVID 19 lockdown approached. For the best part of the summer the only competition was the weekly Zoom quizzes, which were not only hotly contested but raised a bit of money for club funds too. Thanks to Woody for helping (and hand delivering chocolate) and the families who participated, especially the Lloyds who ran the quiz one week.

An online form was deployed to collate junior registration details, which seemed to work well and certainly used less paper and data entry time. It had been agreed not to collect subs until the season started this year so a donation to club funds was requested from those attending winter nest to defray some of the cost of the hire cover cost of net hire to those who had attended. Thanks to those who donated.

Junior cricket was first to emerge (officially) from lockdown with the commencement of outdoor training in the last weekend of June. It was decided that the nets at BCC were unsafe for junior use, so practice consisted of a circuit of COVID compliant (at the time) drills. These ran for 7 weeks flitting between Saturday and Sunday mornings to accommodate some indifferent weather. Pleasingly 61 of the 66 juniors we had registered showed up for at least one session in the summer. A reduced sub was requested of all who attended summer practice

Massive thanks to all the helpers who put cricket first at such a difficult time: Aidan Pimm, Chris Bryon, Steve Butler, John Cheeseman, William Allen, Phil Owen, Sam Pimm, Dan Hobbs, Mark Vaughan, Keith McKay, Stuart Bailey, Stan Harper, Ben Mannering and Charlotte Bryon. Great to see some former juniors helping out as well as some keen dads, which allowed us to keep the groups suitably staffed. Additional thanks to Steve Butler for securing gallons of hand-san!

The much anticipated new look Coach Education programme didn’t appear due to COVID. As it didn’t run in 2019 either, hopefully a sufficiently expanded programme will be in place shortly… as you can imagine it is very hard to provide the coach to junior ratios demanded when you can’t get coaches trained. As ever there is always room for more helpers, whether coaching or managing a junior side. Get in touch if interested.

Thanks to Suzy Chalk our Club Welfare Officer, Phil Owen for being in control of the Clubmark process, William Allen for membership data work and collecting subs with Rachel Mannering. Special thanks to Peter Lockley for his hard work prepping a full list of fixtures, none of which actually took place. Plenty of matches were shoehorned in across July and August with all Boxmoor teams playing their matches away. Thanks to all involved in getting those games on.

The Grand Union arrangement with HHTCC for girls and U17 boys cricket worked well and all took advantage of additional space and shared resource. 2020 was supposed to see a concerted focus from ECB on promoting Girls’ and Women’s cricket, unfortunately by the time that the month of activity landed it was September when most clubs had finished.

Despite some good cricket being played it was decided that it would not be right to incur the expense of player awards for Juniors this year and it was frustrating not to be able to acknowledge all the effort that did go into the shortened season, Thanks to all the junior cricketers for their attitude and application in such strange circumstances (“don’t catch it!”) a lot of additional hard work went into delivering the cricket this summer and your continued enjoyment made it worthwhile. 

Once we got started it really felt that we could all have been doing it much earlier had the guidelines been in place. Here’s hoping 2021 gets out of the blocks quicker!